Many single adults are tired of the bar scene, and getting set up by friends can get very old. Online dating offers lots of advantages when it comes to finding someone who shares your interests, values and goals. However, there are certain perils involved in online dating. You can never be entirely sure that the person you are communicating with is genuine. Always proceed with caution and put your personal safety first at all times. It is definitely possible to meet someone terrific through online dating, you just need to follow some simple guidelines to protect yourself. Here are five ways to keep safe when online dating:
- Do not reveal too much personal information. Give out your cell phone number, which is more difficult to trace than your home phone. Do not give out your address to anyone you do not know well. Keep your online profile on the sparse side, so that you can choose to give out the information that you want, when you want it.
- If you are thinking that you are ready to meet your online friend, make your first several meetings in public places. Arrive separately so that you do not have to be picked up at home. Be sure to tell someone where you will be and when you expect to be home. Always carry your cell phone—and don’t forget to fully charge it before you leave home. Never hand over a cell phone to your date, some slick characters are able to quickly add GPS software that can track where you are.
- Use alcohol in moderation only. Some people rely on the effects of alcohol to relax them and make them more comfortable meeting someone new. Unfortunately, alcohol will also dull your senses and reduce your inhibitions. You may be less likely to trust your gut instinct if a situation becomes uncomfortable and you may be more likely to engage in unsafe behaviors. Plus, having a drink makes you more vulnerable to date rape drugs that are often added to cocktails. Stick to soft drinks or water. Wait a few dates before you add the drinks into the equation.
- Carry some type of personal protection product if you arrange a meeting with someone you have met online, such as pepper spray. This is an effective weapon to use against someone who may intend to do you harm.
- Be careful about sending mixed signals. Offer to split the dinner bill and keep things neutral for the first few dates. Some men may assume that you “owe” them something if they buy you dinner. Get to know him first and be sure you can trust him before you let your guard down.
More than anything, use your common sense in any situation where you may be meeting someone you don’t really know. Online dating can be a wonderful way to meet people, but you are faced with certain risks that you need to be aware of. Safety first, in every instance! Looking for love in the right places may include online dating, just be certain that you follow the proper safety guidelines.